Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf: Team Pilipinas – DTI @Expo 2020 Dubai
World expos have forever been championing culture, innovation, and human ingenuity of all forms from all over. During these landmark events that only happen once every five years, countries gather to showcase their successes and game-changing ideas that rewrite history and foretell the future’s promise all at the same time. With Dubai Expo 2020 fast approaching, the Philippines is set to shine and elevate the collective image of its people in the global arena to end all global arenas – utilizing its landmark participation to tell a progressive yet unmistakably authentic narrative of our nation.
Spearheading this milestone initiative is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under the leadership of Secretary Ramon Lopez (Chairman and Commissioner-General of the Philippine Organizing Committee), together with Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hijayceelyn Quintana, Architect Royal Pineda, and Curator Marian Pastor Roces.
Through participating at the expo, the team endeavors to highlight the Philippines’ best in terms of trade, tourism, and investment, as well as other facets that showcase the nation for what it is – a creative and compassionate changemaker with a burgeoning economy that is ready for business. Secretary Lopez shares: “With our participation, we hope to create more goodwill for the Philippines and to attract greater interest not only for our products but also investments, as well as our tourist destinations.” He adds, “Alongside forging relationships with potential investors and trade partners, it’s an opportunity to project the Philippines as a progressive and innovative nation – that is also rich in culture and heritage – of concerned and professionally active individuals that are connected worldwide.”
Asec Gaetos remarks, “The goal of our participation is 3-fold: country branding, trade tourism and investments, and consumer engagement.” She also adds that the participation is largely a branding exercise that empowers Filipinos to tell their own story – and not anyone else’s. She affirms, “It’s a story, a narrative of what and who the Filipino is, and it’s something that is supposed to elevate and change mindsets not only on how Filipinos look at themselves, but also likewise how the whole world will look upon Filipinos.”
With over 700,000 Filipinos in the UAE, Ambassador Quintana expresses that OFs will play an instrumental role in shaping the Philippines’ run during the 6-month event, “The Filipino community here can play a very supportive role even if everything is prepared already by the Philippine organizing committee. There are other things that we can do to reinforce the message to elaborate on whatever could be done to highlight the many things that are going to be presented and projected during the expo.“ She continues, “This is our chance to shine; this is a global stage that we are going to have. I hope that we will be ready for that.”
Architect Royal Pineda who designed the Philippine pavilion called “Bangkota” based on the coral reefs, shares the idea behind the most awaited structure. “The very essence of what we are doing is to reflect the real nature of the Philippines – our people being warm, sensitive, and caring. We go the extra mile, and we are very soulful. That is what we are presenting and amplifying in this pavilion. We intend to showcase the beauty of our islands, our materials, our skills, and, most of all, our people. It is about collaborations – modern bayanihan, to show the world that we have something to offer – our gift to the world. And this, I believe, is important to find the identity, dignity, and honor of Filipinos.”
Curator Marian Pastor-Roces is excited to offer a new story of the Philippines through the pavilion – “That Filipinos are not just a product of that 500 years of history that we know of right now. That the Filipino has been in the making for thousands of years.” She adds, “Most people do not know the story of our emergence into today. They will see a totally interconnected people, and this is an excellent platform for Filipinos because the whole expo is actually about connectivity. And we obviously are among the most connected, if not the most connected people on earth.”
The image of the Philippines as a growing global force to be reckoned with, coupled with deep roots and a caring and connected people, is set to be highlighted at the forthcoming event, which is slated to be the ‘World’s, Greatest Show.’ With the leadership of the DTI at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, the community and the country is set not only to seize opportunities on many fronts, but it is also set to take another step towards its progressively evolving narrative.